JULY 2010 IN

Products, and Physical Products

A CD jewel case now costs more to make than the CD it protects. It’s the same story with DVDs and the various cases they come in.

It shows how much extra we pay to get things in physical form, even for things like music where the physical form is little more than a metaphor.

But this is also true of things that are obviously physical in nature. What could be more innately physical than food and clothing? Yet the cost of a jar of apple sauce is 10 times what you would pay for the two apples it represents. As for clothing, if you are buying clothing just to be seen in it, then it might work just as well to get the clothing in digital form and add it to your photos.

Physical vs. virtual is an everyday decision in advertising design and movie-making, and this question is now starting to be part of everyday life.

As for music and movies, and eventually books, producers and publishers face tough decisions with every new release about how much of their budget they are willing to commit to get the product in physical form. Increasingly, they are willing to let the audience decide, so that, for example, buying an album is now a separate decision from buying a CD.

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